This Christmas, Have a Ball!
Artist Michael Storrings shares his love of Christmas and New York through his original ornaments.
Michael Storrings’s “Art that Celebrates” brings classic Christmas ball ornaments to life, with vibrant depictions of seasons and cities. The artist/illustrator’s most notable ornaments are those that are New York City–themed, with colorful scenes and recognizable New York symbols. Storrings also has his art licensed on greeting cards, stockings, tableware and more. His new book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York, is on sale just in time for the holiday season.
What was the inspiration for your New York City paintings?
The city itself is my inspiration: the sounds, smells, color, people, fashions, neighborhoods and, above all, the diversity. I love it; it is so full of life! I feel so lucky to wake up in New York City, my home, and walk out my door—I never know what experiences I will have that day, and that excitement is inspiring.
How did you come up with the idea of incorporating your art into Christmas decorations?
For many years, I have been illustrating magazines and books, and gradually I started to license my imagery for apparel and art prints. Eight years ago, Landmark Creations, a California-based ornament company, saw my work and asked if I would design a line of New York City ornaments for them. It was a match made in heaven—I love Christmas, and I love New York!
How do your paintings become ornaments?
After my original art is complete (something that takes about a month from concept to finished art), Landmark Creations and I discuss glitters, finishes, colors, lacquers and other embellishments. I also send them sketches of the positioning for the art on the ball. Landmark then works with factories in Poland to produce a prototype. Once that is approved, production begins. The glass is blown, silvered, and then each ball is hand-painted. It takes about a week to paint, dry and glitter each one.
How do you develop new themes?
I am always looking at what is happening in the city and in the world; I am a keen observer of life. As an artist, you are always “percolating” and you never know when that inspiration for a design will come to surface and beg to become reality.
Your ornaments really capture a moment in time!
I believe that each of my ornaments tells a story, and in these stories people see their memories. Every time they are displayed, whether hung from a tree, a chandelier, or ribbon in an entryway, they remind people of the special time they spent with friends or families in cities that I have depicted. In this way, I hope my ornaments will help remind them of their own stories about the places they have visited.
How has this success inspired other facets of your work?
The ornaments have inspired me to create books and to make original art prints. I have a long background in book publishing, and am currently a creative director at St. Martins Press. With all the art I have created for the ornaments and with my background, it was natural to think about turning that art into a book. My first book, A Very New York Christmas, came out in 2007.
This year, I started making art prints in my studio. Each print is a 2D version of my ornaments and can be hung on the wall and enjoyed throughout the year. The prints, ornaments and other products are available at Bergdorf Goodman, the Plaza Hotel and at storrings.com.